Category Archives: Uncategorized

New Podcast (with linked website): “The Uncertain Hour”

New Podcast (with linked website): NPR Marketplace, “The Uncertain Hour” — Series about Welfare Reform at 20 with many episodes.  [Could be great for those teaching poverty law and worth checking out.]

-Thanks to Cynthia Nance for the heads up!

New Article: “Can Poverty in America Be Compared to Conditions in the World’s Poorest Countries?”

New Article: H. Luke Shaefer, Pinghui Wu & Kathryn Edin, Can Poverty in America Be Compared to Conditions in the World’s Poorest Countries?, July 2016. Abstract below:

Some contend that the American poor are affluent by international standards, and recent survey evidence finds that Americans have deeply divided views about the conditions faced by the poor in this country. To what extent can poverty in the United States be compared to conditions in the world’s poorest nations? Few analysts have examined this question beyond “instrumental”measures of poverty such as income and consumption that only indirectly capture well­being (Sen, 1999). The current paper uses available evidence to examine this question based on four direct indicators of wellbeing: 1) life expectancy; 2) infant mortality; 3) risk of homicide, and 4) risk of incarceration. By these metrics, well­being is highly stratified in the U.S. Among Americans at the bottom of the economic ladder, quality of life looks similar to what is experienced in countries with pe r­capita economic output that is a small fraction of that in the U.S.

New Article: “Equitably Housing (Almost) Half a Nation of Renters”

New Article: Andrea J. Boyack, Equitably Housing (Almost) Half a Nation of Renters (forthcoming Buffalo L. Rev. 2016).  Abstract below:

America’s population of renters is growing faster than the supply of available rental units. Rental vacancies are reaching new lows, and rental rates are reaching new highs. Millions of former homeowners have lost their homes in foreclosure and, due to today’s much tighter mortgage underwriting realities, will not realistically re-enter the ranks of owner-occupants. For a number of reasons – variety of incomes, different stages in life, and a range of personal preferences and lifestyles – homeownership is not for everyone. And yet federal government housing policy has consistently prioritized homeownership over renter-specific issues, such as affordability and rental supply and distribution. State and local housing assistance programs are shockingly insufficient to meet ballooning needs. Reallocation of focus and funds at the federal level, however, could help grow the supply of rental housing and provide renters at all income levels a realistic chance of occupying quality and affordable rental housing, even in a “high opportunity” neighborhood.

The government must first reorient its myopic housing policy focus away from an over-emphasis on building homeownership. It must free up government funds for use in support of affordable rental housing. In addition, government funds and agency efforts should be carefully allocated to increase the availability of housing assistance and government gap funding of affordable housing as well as to encourage private investment in the supply of affordable rental housing.

Op-Ed: “Twenty Years Since Welfare ‘Reform'”

Op-Ed: Kathryn Edin & Luke Shaefer, Twenty Years Since Welfare ‘Reform’, The Atlantic, Aug. 22, 2016.

New Article: “Separate and Unequal: The Dimensions and Consequences of Safety Net Decentralization in the U.S. 1994 – 2014”

New Article: Sarah K. Bruch, Separate and Unequal: The Dimensions and Consequences of Safety Net Decentralization in the U.S. 1994 – 2014, IRP Discussion Paper No. 1432-16 (Aug. 2016) [Includes a good bibliography].

-Thanks to Susan Bennett for the heads up!

News Coverage: “Rent-to-Own Homes: A Win-Win for Landlords, a Risk for Struggling Tenants”

News Coverage: Alexandra Stevenson & Matthew Goldstein, Rent-to-Own Homes: A Win-Win for Landlords, a Risk for Struggling Tenants, N.Y. Times, Aug. 21, 2016.


News Coverage: “As the nation’s capital booms, poor tenants face eviction over as little as $25”

News Coverage:  Terrence McCoy, As the nation’s capital booms, poor tenants face eviction over as little as $25, Wash. Post, Aug. 8, 2016.

New Article/Book Review: “The Political Economy of ‘Constitutional Political Economy'”

New Article: Jeremy Kessler, The Political Economy of ‘Constitutional Political Economy’, forthcoming Texas L. Rev. Abstract below:

Joseph Fishkin and William Forbath’s book-in-progress, The Anti-Oligarchy Constitution, offers a radical alternative to the constitutional histories that emerged in the 1990s to defend the New Deal synthesis. Fishkin and Forbath’s new constitutional history promises to recast the New Deal as a contingent and incomplete resolution of a centuries-long struggle to achieve the political-economic conditions that the Constitution requires — “requires” in the double sense of “demands” and “depends upon.” This struggle is still ongoing and even accelerating, Fishkin and Forbath report, yet it has become increasingly “one-sided.” First, the post-WWII economic boom dissipated, taking with it much of the middle class that the New Deal and Great Society legal orders had hoped to create. Then, conservative lawyers and politicians stepped up their attacks on the New Deal and Great Society’s remaining achievements, trumpeting a constitutional political economy in which private property free of overweening public management is the pillar of constitutional democracy. Confronted by these dire conditions, legal liberals have forgotten how to fight back, rendered mute by the New Deal synthesis itself, which ironically and erroneously implied that political economy was no longer a matter of constitutional concern. Hoping to even the odds, Fishkin and Forbath offer liberals a grammar of egalitarian constitutional political economy — “the constitution of opportunity” — that was once spoken fluently and effectively by those Americans who argued that the Constitution prohibited oligarchic concentrations of wealth and mandated the political and judicial construction of a broad, inclusive middle class.

By placing the discourse of political economy back at the center of constitutional debate, Fishkin and Forbath have — by any fair measure — done more than enough. Yet scholarly innovators tend to find the ranks of their critics swelled by those who have benefited most from their labor. This Essay is no exception to the oedipal rule. It argues that Fishkin and Forbath could go further still in integrating political economy and constitutional history. At times, their detailed analysis of the discourse of “constitutional political economy” comes at the expense of a more fully materialist account of the political-economic conditions and effects of that discourse. Such a discursive emphasis, in turn, risks an overly optimistic assessment of the past virtues and present utility of “the constitution of opportunity,” the egalitarian dialect of constitutional political economy that Fishkin and Forbath commend to legal liberals today.

News Coverage: “The Millions of Americans Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Barely Mention: The Poor”

News Coverage: Binyamin Appelbaum, The Millions of Americans Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Barely Mention: The Poor, New York Times, Aug. 11, 2016.


New Report: “Report on the Future of Legal Services in the United States”

Report PhotoNew Report: ABA Commission on the Future of Legal Services, Report on the Future of Legal Services in the United States (2016) [the link for the whole report is here].